Development of nanotechnology and power systems concentrations for an on-line BSEET degree

Sohail Anwar, Jane Leclair, Arnie Peskin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


According to a report titled "Workforce Planning for Public Power Utilities: Ensuring Resources to Meet Projected Needs", published by the American Public Power Association (APPA) in 2005, the electric utility industry is faced with an aging workforce and the potential retirements of a large percentage of its employee base. A large number of electric utilities believe that as a result of the anticipated retirements over the next five years, the loss of critical knowledge will be their biggest problem. This problem is augmented by the fact that the newest engineers and technologists often do not have an academic background that emphasized electrical power systems and they may find themselves thrust into situations for which they are unprepared. Nanotechnology has been identified as an important new growth area for industry, government, and the education community, embraced by both the public and private sectors. Yet, an abiding impediment to its progress is the dearth of trained practitioners. Engineering teams composed of engineers, technologists, and technicians, typically support experimentation, fabrication, and testing in the nanotechnology arena. There are recognized shortages of these skill levels, and the problem threatens to become more acute as time goes on. Excelsior College, a well known distance learning higher education institution, has recently started developing nanotechnology and power systems concentrations in its on-line Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology Program (BSEET). In addition to the electronics concentration which already exists in the BSEET Program, students will have the option of a 15 credit-hour concentration in nanotechnology or power systems. All the courses in either concentration will be taught on-line. In each of these concentrations, students will be required to complete five on-line 3 credit-hour upper division courses. Two of them will include on-line laboratories. The Excelsior College's nanotechnology and power systems concentrations will address the technical workforce shortage in the disciplinary areas of nanotechnology and electrical power systems by providing education and training at the undergraduate level to the technicians and the technologists. The program will be geared to adult learners, and features distance delivery of courses including laboratories, as well as opportunities for assessment of the current level of students' proficiency for course credit. This manuscript focuses on a description of the development of nanotechnology and power systems concentrations within the on-line BSEET Program offered by Excelsior College. The manuscript describes several issues to be dealt with during the development of completely online nanotechnology and power systems concentrations. One of the important issues is the development of on-line laboratories in different topical areas of nanotechnology and power systems. The manuscript provides information regarding the on-line curriculum development strategy used by Excelsior College to address the above mentioned issues. In addition, the manuscript describes the innovative on-line/web-based course development model used by Excelsior College. This course model combines virtual reality, graphics, text, and sound. The model features multidisciplinary perspective and it is designed specifically to meet the learning needs of working adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Event2010 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Louisville, KY, United States
Duration: Jun 20 2010Jun 23 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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